HoboSapiens

John Cale

As the most accomplished musician in Velvet Underground, as well as a prolific producer, John Cale has been teetering of the fence of avant-garde and pop music for almost 40 years. His solo albums resonate with a sweet aftertaste, leaving much to the imagination, while filling out the groove with irresistible, near-accessible delicacies. Some of it comes from working with a lot of prototype punksters like The Stooges, Nico and Patti Smith. Little wonder such eclecticism comes full circle on HoboSapiens, a new collection of songs from Cale in nearly a decade, ripe with introspection and texture — enough to even keep the 61-year-old in the vanguard. Unpredictability is the modus operandi as Cale swings from one end of the spectrum to the other. The Radiohead-like opener “Zen” invokes a surreal build-up that keenly draws you in for the folly of “Reading My Mind.” Cale lightens the load when he launches into “Things,” with its lilting Talking Heads bounce and oblique refrain, “the thing you do in Denver when you’re dead…” Sounds like the people in Denver have a new theme song. Elsewhere, the haunting flow of “Magritte,” the pop polarity of “Archimedes,” and sumptuous wisp of “Bicycle,” featuring the tuneful laughter of Brian Eno's daughters (!), complete a stirring and dreamlike picture of a contemporary, ethereal yet heterogeneous dish of digital delights, curried and baked to perfection.

~ Shawn Perry

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